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Old 12-11-2017, 05:42 AM   #65
Huinesoron
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Silmaril

I wondered in the Frodo in the Tower of Cirith Ungol thread whether we knew the Ringwraiths were definitely male, and lo and behold, there's a thread for that... I love this place.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thinlómien View Post
Most of the people discussing here have agreed that women weren't as good warriors as men (except our dear Éowyn, who, btw, in my opinion didn't have proper warrior-training. She just had the "defensive-warrior"-training). Women can't be called as "kings" (except the swedish Christina-case, but oh, swedish people are strange in other ways too , so probably that doesn't count) since they're women. But what about a woman sorceror? Surely there could be one. (And don't say she would be called "a sorceress", because if there's both men and women they're usually called by the male title only.)
"Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky..."

So far as I'm aware, Galadriel is the only holder of Nenya since its creation. It's clear that people in Middle-earth were prone to misusing the word 'king'.

And why this focus on their skill as warriors? Remember that the Nazgûl were Sauron's messengers and spies, not a fighting force. This is blindingly obvious from their inability to, eg, beat a single Ranger with a torch and four short people.

I see that the term is being pulled from the Of the Rings of Power... quote, but I also see that said quote is being misquoted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age
Those who used the Nine Rings became mighty in their day, kings, sorcerers, and warriors of old.
Emphasis mine. It is entirely possible that kingship, sorcery, and warriordom were obtained by way of the Nine (as were 'glory and great wealth', same source). I don't think we really know the powers of the Rings (beyond long life, invisibility, and inevitable corruption), but 'inhuman strength' seems pretty likely, as well as sorcery - the Witch-king of Angmar is well named, after all.

So, were there any female Nazgûl? Two answers from me:

-Tolkien never intended there to be any. This is almost certain. When he wrote women (who weren't just featureless wives), they tended to be very prominent and highlighted; he would have mentioned a female Ringwraith if she existed. He was also writing in a pseudo-medieval setting, where (as has been said) women weren't exactly prone to fame and fortune.

-There doesn't seem to be any firm argument against them, from an in-world perspective. There were three Númenorean lords (who were probably, but not certainly, male), and Khamûl the Shadow of the East is probably male as well; after that, the gates are wide open. Whoever they were, they would have been high-placed or rulers in their own lands, just as the four we know about were; they would have gained further power and wealth as time passed; and by about five hundred years after receiving their Rings, they would have left everything behind and joined Sauron openly as his undying Ringwraiths (Eregion fell in 1697, the Nazgûl appeared in 2251).

So if there were female Ringwraiths, is there any hint as to who they might be? Well... maybe! You're going to like this one...

Tar-Telperiën was the second Ruling Queen of Númenor. She lived for 411 years, 11 longer than her father, 12 longer than her nephew who succeeded her. Per the wiki, she failed to intervene to save Eregion when Sauron attacked it, and was the first ruler of Númenor to cling to the scepter until death, rather than relinquishing it early. She died (or 'died') 34 years after Sauron started handing out Rings.

If a messenger from Sauron had come to Tar-Telperiën, offering her more power and unending life in exchange for her neutrality in his wars, would she have accepted? From her description, she was someone who wanted all the power she could get (she refused to marry, which may well have been because her husband would try to wield the power of the scepter in her stead); I think she would absolutely have taken the promise of a Ring in exchange for not doing something she didn't want to anyway. And when it arrived, she would have put it on...

It's not a perfect theory (among other things, it doesn't explain why she did give up the scepter in the end - a better offer from Sauron, perhaps? - or why she allowed her nephew to attack Sauron in 1700), and it's certainly not Tolkien's idea, but it doesn't hold any massive inconsistencies. Whether she would be counted as a Númenorean Lord (alongside King Galadriel) is left as an exercise to the reader...

hS
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